Naturally, we believe that flying is a fantastic thing. But we have to balance this with the effect we know it is having on the environment. So for every flight we operate, we’ll offset the carbon it produces from the fuel used, by investing in projects that include the planting of trees or protection against deforestation. We know that carbon offsetting is only an interim measure while new technologies are developed. However, at the moment we believe it’s the best way to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
But we won’t stop there. We’ll continue to find other ways to reduce carbon emissions such as taxiing on one engine or removing weight from our aircraft, both of which use less fuel. We have championed the development of electric technology and will continue to do so in order to ensure that flying remains a sustainable option for us all in the future.
What this means for you
The fact that we're the first major airline to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all flights means that if you do choose to fly, flying with us is a more sustainable choice.
In terms of your experience, everything will remain exactly the same. The cost of your flight will not be impacted by our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and neither will the performance of the plane itself or your overall safety.
What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting is the reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. This means making sure that for every tonne of CO2 emitted by our planes, there is one tonne less in the atmosphere. We can do this by investing in projects which physically remove CO2 from the air such as planting more trees or protecting against deforestation.
Carbon can be offset in this way because one tonne of CO2 has the same climate impact wherever it is emitted.
How are we carbon offsetting?
We will pay to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of our flights. We will only participate in carbon offsetting projects which meet either the Gold Standard or Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) accreditation - these companies are globally recognised and respected for their standards of offsetting.
Examples of the projects we're investing in include:
Afforestation (planting new trees), as well as the prevention of deforestationProduction of renewable energies including solar and windWorking with local communities in developing countries to foster emission reductions in their way of life
Offsetting is a large part of our journey to reduce carbon emissions but it’s not the whole story. We've been exploring electric technology for some time but, whilst this is still in development, we will continue to work on additional actions to reduce our carbon emissions. Examples available to us include technologies like e-taxiing, as well as the use of renewable energy on our non-flight activities.
Ongoing initiatives to reduce carbon
Carbon offsetting builds on our ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Carbon reduction targets:
Since 2000 we have reduced our carbon emissions per passenger kilometre by 33.6%.
Modern, fuel efficient planes:
We introduced the Airbus A320neo aircraft back in June 2017 and this year we took delivery of our first A321neo aircraft, which is our largest, quietest, most cost-efficient and most eco-friendly aircraft yet.
We aim to fill each flight so they’re productively used. This year the load factor was 92.9%.To reduce fuel usage, we fly point-to-point routes rather than flying a customer to a hub airport and then on to their final destination.Where possible we use only one engine when taxiing on the ground; and use climb, descent and landing techniques that improve efficiency.To reduce weight and therefore fuel consumption, we’ve introduced lightweight Recaro passenger seats and use electronic devices as opposed to paper documents.
Our future ambition - longer term initiatives to reduce carbon
We know that if we want to ensure flying is a viable option in the future, we have to invest in longer term initiatives, so that’s exactly what we’re doing:
Electric & Hybrid Planes
We are supporting Wright Electric who are aiming to produce an all-electric plane.We have just announced a joint electric plane development project with Airbus.
We are working with Airbus, Rolls Royce and Safran to develop new technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of flyingWe will also support the development of technologies necessary for hybrid and electric planes and champion advanced carbon capture technologies. We will look to use these types of technologies as well as sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) as they become available and commercially viable.
Looking Beyond Carbon
We are working hard to reduce as much single-use plastic as we can and, over the past year,have been focused on removing plastic fromour inflight Bistro. Wherever possible we are:
Reducing the amount of plastic we use in generalOffering discounts on hot drinks for customers who bring their own reusable cupReplacing plastic items with non-plastic alternatives, for example replacing plastic stirrers with wooden spoons or replacing the plastic cup we give customers to put their used tea bags with a little bowl which is made of bagasse, the fibre that is left over after sugar cane has been processed.
For more information, take a look at the Sustainability part of our annual report. View our carbon offset infographic.